My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sunshine On The Icewolf

SUNSHINE ON THE ICEWOLF by Colleen Drippe. Young Helen Kley of El Colony, a world dominated by women, doesn't know what to make of the two young men who suddenly come bursting into her life, rescuing her from a humiliating kidnap attempt. That they are offworlders, she has no doubt, that they are corporate agents of some sort, she suspects. Otherwise why do they withhold their names, giving her only the number of a safe line to contact them? In the end, she becomes friends with the one she dubs "Pro" (the other she call "Con" because of their differing attitudes) and simply learns to think of them as her guardians. Only when she comes of age, two years later, and is by custom given her father's name and an invitation to visit heretofore unknown relatives on his homeworld, does she learn the truth about her adopted guardians. In fact she learns truth after truth as she and Pro, whose real name she finally learns, must battle their way through one adventure after another as they seek her missing father while avoiding his enemies. In the end, she faces not only threats from the outside, but also the need to come to terms with her own values and background -- to choose and to choose rightly. Everything she has learned to care about depends on her choice -- her own happiness and the welfare of those who have become dear to her. Just released, this is available from Amazon for $12.48, at

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale

The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale by Frank L. Packard (340 Pages), 1919. The first three chapters (1, 2 & 3) are really one arc. With Larry the Bat supposedly killed in the last adventure, six months ago, Jimmie Dale has created a new underworld identity, that of Smarlinghue, a drug addict artist down on his luck and living in the badlands. Marie LaSalle has stopped contact, as she’s still afraid for her life, and Jimmie can’t find her. One night Officer Clancy of headquarters breaks into Smarlinghue’s run-down studio, and threatens him, He wants Smarlinghue to listen in on certain crooks and report back to him – a stool pigeon! After Clancy leaves there is an envelope beneath his door, and Jimmy finds another letter from Tocsin. Now he knows Marie is still around, and probably hiding out in the underworld. He’s instructed to, basically, follow Clancy’s orders and listen in on a meeting, but something else is going on that Clancy wasn’t aware of. With this arc the police and underworld discover that the Gray Seal is still alive and up to his old tricks.
Chapters four and five are the next arc. A thief steals a diamond pendant from the home of an elderly couple and bargains it to others who fight over it. But there is more to the theft than meets the eye, and Tocsin has given Jimmie all the data. Now he must take back the pendant, and see that it is returned.
The next three chapters (6, 7 & 8) is another arc. Jimmie returns as Larry the Bat and finds the Magpie murdered, with a gray seal on his toes. He learns from Tocsin that there is also a theft of bonds tied to the murder and detective Meighan is closing in on the Gray Seal.
Chapter nine and ten is the next arc. The Wolf, a Bad Lands killer has murdered his pal, Spider Webb, and is after his hidden jewels. A note from Tocsin tells Jimmie there is more at stake, and Jimmie beats the mobster to the hideout, only to be wounded and trailed to his Sanctuary, where Wolf grabs the jewels. But Jimmie has other things Wolf is unaware of.
In the next three chapters (11, 12 & 13), Jimmy Dale, pretending to be in an opium dream in Foo Sen’s opium parlor, overhears two crooks talking about fifteen thousand dollars being placed in a private after hours bank that would be easily stolen. Returning to his Sanctuary he finds that Tocsin has been there and left new instructions for the Gray Seal. She all ready knows about the money and theft, but she has it different, as to the identity of the crooks. As usual, Tocsin is right, though Jimmie is, too. There is only a slight change to the plans.
Chapter 14 & 15 has a neat little plot. Jimmie learns from Tocsin that the District Attorney’s son has been set up in order for the gang known as The Private Club Ring to stop the D.A. from investigating their criminal activities. Supposedly caught robbing a safe to repay money he’s lost, and a letter that could mean he had planned the robbery is all set up nicely. The boy will be prosecuted unless the Gray Seal can stop the set up.
 With Chapter 16, 17 & 18, Jimmie receives a call from an old acquaintance who is now in charge of another bank. He needs help. But when Jimmie arrives at his home, the banker is dead, a possible suicide. There is a note, but the suicide is false.  An English forger has written the note and forged his signature, as well as forged signatures on bonds.
Chapters 19, 20, 21 leads Jimmie to another murder, but the murder sets Larry the Bat up, as he’s led to believe the Tocsin has been captured. Instead, it’s the murderer disguised as Silver Mag, captured and waiting for Larry the Bat to rescue her. It’s all been a set up.
In Chapter 22, 23 & 24, Jimmie learns the details of the Tocsin’s story. He learns that one of the remaining men from The Crime Club is lawyer, Peter Marre, and he’s disappeared while working behind the scenes to kill Tocsin and the Gray Seal. There’s been another murder at a bank, and Hunchback Joe has something to do with it. Jimmie follows the trail, unearthing the clues and finally facing the ugly hunchback in a final confrontation that reveals his true identity.
The story ends with Jimmie and Marie locked in a long embrace. The stories were fun, but terribly outdated. Still, to learn the influence of the later pulp heroes like The Spider, The Shadow, The Phantom Detective, and all of Johnston McCulley’s coming costumed heroes, you need to read the Jimmie Dale adventures, for these were the blueprints. Happy reading.

Tom Johnson


Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Wild Beasts of Wuhan

Meet Ava Lee, alluring but deadly, with a mind like a steel trap, as she chases millions of dollars and dangerous criminals around the globe in this exotic and fast-paced new crime series by Ian Hamilton.
In The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, Wong Changxing, a rich Chinese powerbroker, has just been bilked out of $100 million in an elaborate art forgery con. His one hope of recovering the money, and of saving face, is Ava Lee―a forensic accountant with a talent for tracking down untraceable funds. With the help of her mentor, the Triad-connected Uncle, Ava traces the provenance of the meticulously forged paintings to Denmark, the Faroe Islands, New York, and London. As she infiltrates one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world, she uncovers a massive web of corruption, where high art and high-stakes fraud threaten more than just her client's business―this is one scam that could get her killed. Ava Lee is one of the most scintillating, unique heroines to come along in years.

The Wild Beasts of Wuhan (International Thriller)
By Ian Hamilton
ISBN #978-1250035158
Price $25.00 (hardback)
352 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“The Characters Come Alive.”

In Book #3 of this fascinating series, Ava Lee, a young Canadian-Chinese forensic accountant works at recovering money stolen. In this case, a wealthy Chinese gentleman from Wuhan, China has been swindled out of 73 million dollars in fake art masterpieces called Fauvist art, which is wild colors also known as wild beasts. She’s not sure the money can be found, due to the matter of time that has passed since the purchase, and the man who brokered the deal has died and his records destroyed, but she promises to look into for a few days, and if leads look promising she’ll have Uncle offer a contract from Hong Kong. Her trail takes her to Denmark, Iceland, London, and New York. Once she discovers the evidence to proceed, she starts working to bring the money back to their clients, only to have the clients decide on vengeance instead.

This was another fascinating story featuring the martial arts champ, and the method of her trail to the final source of her investigation. The characters come alive, and Ava Lee is a force to be reckoned with. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Path of Justice

In the years since the Bakzen war, Wil and Saera have raised a family on Earth outside the purview of the High Dynasties and Priesthood. Except, it's almost time for their teenage twins, Raena and Jason, to begin telekinesis training and they have no idea such abilities even exist. With the Bakzen threat eliminated, Wil hopes the TSS can offer them training without the need to commit to a lifetime of military service. Just as the twins come to understand the life on Tararia that was kept from them as children, the family discovers that there's always another layer of secrets guiding their lives.
Path of Justice is the sixth installment in the Cadicle series. This novel lays the foundation for the plan to finally bring down the Priesthood.

Path of Justice (SF Adventure)
“Cadicle Vol #6
By Amy DuBoff
BDL Press
Price $3.99
362 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“A New Generation.”

Saera is several months pregnant, and they decide the children will be raised on Earth after they’re born on TSS Headquarters. The story then jumps sixteen years and we meet the twins, Jason and Raena, who know nothing of their heritage. Then, suddenly, Raena has her Awakening, the onset of abilities, and hears voices as she picks up what her classmates are thinking. Jason calls their dad, and the kids are quickly taken from the Earth to the moon headquarters where they are introduced to their heritage – and future. The Priesthood and the Aeiser are also aware of the situation and both want Raena for their own purposes.

The author’s writing is excellent, and the story is interesting. Unfortunately, it moves slowly, as we follow the twins and their activities in a new environment. There is the expected kidnapping and rescue towards the end, and we wonder why the TSS doesn’t destroy the Priesthood once and for all, but the author isn’t finished building her universe yet. In fact, we see a lot of changes in this latest novel, as commands are repositioned and we watch the next generation move forward. As much as I like the series, I think the author needs to throw away the current formula and invent some new and more exciting ideas to the series. Each story is starting to sound like the previous one, with just a change of characters, i.e., the next generation. Still, this is one of the best new SF series I’ve read in awhile, and I highly recommend it to those who like good world building in science fiction.

Tom Johnson

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Disciple of Las Vegas

Fifty million dollars has disappeared into thin air from the accounts of one of the richest men in the Philippines, Tommy Ordonez. His one hope is Ava Lee―sleek, capable forensic accountant and sleuth. With the help of her Triad-connected partner, Uncle, Ava follows the money trail from San Francisco to Costa Rica to the casinos and illegal gambling dens of Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a vengeful adversary from Ava's past has put out a contract on her life, and the shadowy hit man is close at her heels every step of the way. Will Ava recover the stolen cash without stepping into the crosshairs of a growing list of enemies? The first book of an electrifying new series, Ian Hamilton's The Disciple of Las Vegas introduces Ava Lee: a deadly martial artist with a taste for luxury and a mind like a steel trap.

The Disciple of Las Vegas (International Thriller)
“Ava Lee Book #2”
By Ian Hamilton
ISBN #978-1250032430
Price $25.00 (hardback)
338 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

Ava Lee lives in Canada, and is a forensic accountant and detective. She has teemed with an older Chinese man in Hong Kong, she calls Uncle. Uncle has the contacts, and Ava has the investigative ability to run crooks down. They hire out to clients who have lost great sums of money, and Ava knows how to get the money back for them, and their percentage is taken from the amount she recovers. A martial artist, she is often called upon her ability to defend herself against some violent people.

In this second story, and I might say there is some confusion to the numbering system of the series, Tommy Ordonez, of the Philippines Chinese organization, has lost sixty million dollars due to his brother’s gambling problems. Ava discovers that an online gambling group cheated the brother. Connections lead her to Las Vegas and London. As she follows the leads, she is also alert to a death-contract placed on her by a man from a previous case.

The case moves slowly, and everything seems to fall into her grasp with little effort, though the story is interesting and keeps the reader turning the pages. Ava is not timid in the use of torture to get what she wants. She will ask nicely, but if they refuse to cooperate, she will result to torture, and it isn’t pretty.  Overall, I found the story and characters highly interesting. Although the main character is gay, there are no sex scenes in the story. Highly recommended, just be aware of some torture scenes, however.

Tom Johnson